Top 10 Best MMORPGs of 2020
Can you believe we’re almost in 2021 already? That’s unreal.
I know 2020 has been a pretty mediocre year when it comes to MMO releases, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good MMOs to play. That’s what I’m here to talk about today: The MMOs that are, in my opinion, the 10 best MMORPGs of 2020.
That you can go right ahead and download this very moment, install and start playing. Some of these are pay-to-play, some of them are buy-to-play and some of them are free-to-play, so they should appeal to every type of player.
I’m going to be breaking these down a little further than normal, and rating each aspect of the game out of 10, with the #1 MMO being the MMO with the highest average rating of every game listed.
So let’s jump into this..
Combat – 5/10 Story – 4/10 Graphics – 7/10 Playerbase – 2/10
Have you ever wanted to live your very own life-away-from-life? Well that’s, in essence, what Mabinogi allows for.
This is one of the most freeing MMOs I’ve ever seen – providing you the option to live your virtual life in almost any way you want.
Combat, admittedly is incredibly unique. The easiest way of explaining how it functions is like rock-paper-scissors. You click enemies, and cycle through whatever they’re weakest against from your pool of abilities.
I don’t recall there being much of a story in the game. I know there is one, but since the game is incredibly open-ended, I don’t think you’re really going to be following much of one. I never did.
Graphically, the game utilizes an incredibly unique Anime-aesthetic that you don’t really see in MMOs anymore, and although this is going on 2 decades old, I’d still say this looks pretty damn good.
The playerbase definitely leaves a little to be desired, with maybe a few thousand players logging in daily – and that’s being generous. Nevertheless, those few thousand players are incredibly loyal and the community isn’t bad at all!
Overall I’d say this is one of the few Anime MMOs out there – or MMOs in general that you really need to try.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Combat – 4/10 Story – 10/10 Graphics – 5/10 Playebase – 5/10
Whenever people talk about an MMO having a good story, I can think of maybe a handful of games. Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of those games.
This is the only fully scifi MMO in this list, and is set within the – you guessed it – Star Wars universe.
Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of the combat in The Old Republic. It was slow, felt incredibly clunky for when the game was released, and just.. felt very bland when compared to a lot of its competitors.
The story is incredible, providing so many branching choices that effect the narrative, the characters you meet, recruit, end up allying with, enemies with.. this is probably the MMO with the most in-depth, well thought out story available.
Graphically, The Old Republic doesn’t look bad. It definitely looks and feels dated, sure, and that can make it difficult for new-generation gamers to really acclimate to – especially with the likes of games like BDO out there.
The playerbase has grown exponentially after launching on to Steam and as such the playerbase is at higher numbers than it probably has been in years.
Overall I’d say this is an above average MMO.. but it’s definitely held down by its dated look, combat and bad business model.
Phantasy Star Online 2
Combat – 7/10 Story – 6/10 Graphics – 7/10 Playerbase – 6/10
This is one of two hub-MMOs in this list. Typically I find open-world MMOs to be the superior MMO-type but this is one of those rare instances where it just ends up being so much better than the norm.
Plus, you’re given the freedom to take groups and groups worth of players out into large-scale battles which makes it quite different to all of its hub-competitors.
Combat in PSO2 is one of the better combat-types out there. It’s not the best, despite what some players will argue but it’s damn good – being able to swap between 3 different weapon-types on the fly makes certain of that.
While the story is definitely interesting, it’s so disconnected from the game overall that I’m really not sure what to say about it. Yes it’s a lot of fun to play through.. but it almost seems optional.
Graphically, this is one of the best looking Anime MMOs out there, and the sheer levels of customization present leave you able to create something truly unique.
The playerbase is doing exceptionally well right now, split between PC and XBox players. And with New Genesis coming soon, you can bet that’ll increase further next year.
Overall, PSO2 is probably one of the better MMOs out right now. Yes, it’s held back a little by its dated.. everything, but that will change next year with its mass graphical overhaul.
Combat – 7/10 Story – 6/10 Graphics – 8/10 Playerbase – 6/10
This is.. probably the only type of game of its kind I’ll include, or, rather, this is the only type of game I believe in the entire genre as a whole.
Being a huge Pokemon and Digimon fan this really appealed to me – and to quite a few players considering how many copies this sold on Steam.
The combat is turn-based, with your two Temtem and the two enemy Temtem taking turns attacking one another.
The story is actually what pushes you through the game, unlocks new Dojos, new Temtem – entirely new land-masses. And it plays about as well as you’d expect out of a Pokemon game – if a little more mature.
Graphically, the game is incredibly crisp. Environments, characters, Temtem and even abilities all look incredibly high quality. I never expected such a good looking game to come from an indie developer!
The playerbase originally had over 40,000 players playing at any given time, but since they’re still slowly pushing through Early Access to finish the game, they average around 1,000 players concurrently logged in, with tens of thousands likely playing each day.
Overall, Temtem is one of my favorite MMOs. I log in from time to time, and await every new large patch with additional regions and Temtem with eager anticipation.
Soul Worker Online
Combat – 9/10 Story – 5/10 Graphics – 9/10 Playerbase – 4/10
I’ve been a fan of Soul Worker ever since it was only available in South Korea and Japan. This has been a go-to Anime MMO for me for a long time now.
Granted it isn’t going to be for everyone, what with it being a hub-MMO and all, but the only MMO that is as Anime as this is PSO2.
The combat is by far – in my opinion, the most fluid, up-to-date action combat found in a pure Anime MMO. This is one of the reasons I enjoy the game as much as I do.
The story is kinda average. It’s your typical Shounen-Anime story with overpowered enemies and you – the savior of mankind etc., etc.
Graphically, Soul Worker is one of the – if not the best looking Anime MMO currently available. It looks much newer, much more crisp than any other Anime title, although the cities can be a little.. I dunno, boring? Since it’s all modern.
The playerbase however is much smaller than almost any other game here, with maybe a few thousand players logging in per day.
Overall, Soul Worker Online will remain one of my favorite Anime MMOs until the day it dies. It’s so much fun to play through whenever I’m bored.
Elder Scrolls Online
Combat – 5/10 Story – 10/10 Graphics – 7/10 Playerbase – 9/10
I’ve played The Elder Scrolls Online on and off for years now. This is one of the few MMOs that are actually set within an already-existing gaming franchise, and as such the funding they have is.. more than almost any other game in the genre.
One issue I’ve always had with the game, and I know a lot of people mirror this sentiment.. is the combat is really, really slow. While it definitely has a very deep, complex class and ability system, the combat has always been a turn-off for me.
The story in the game – both the main story and zone stories is some of the best in the genre. They built this game in a way that you become completely immersed in the zone you’re actively leveling in – something I really haven’t found in any other MMO.
I know when the game launched people were upset that this didn’t look drastically superior to Skyrim, but honestly I’ve never found the graphics to be bad. I find them rather pleasant – just the character models are a little too.. Iunno, 2015-ish?
The playerbase has always and likely will remain for the foreseeable future quite a bit larger than the majority of MMOs. This is after all in the top 5 most populated MMOs on the market.
Overall, The Elder Scrolls Online is a very high quality game with an incredibly active playerbase. And with the content patches it regularly gets and expansions coming out every other year.. this is a game that will always find new players to enjoy what it has to offer.
Combat – 10/10 Story – 8/10 Graphics – 10/10 Playerbase – 6/10
Mrs Stix and I have invested hundreds of hours into both the South Korean and Russian versions of Lost Ark and have had nothing short of a blast this entire time.
Neither of us are traditionally fans of the top-down isometric camera angle, but Lost Ark somehow still captivated us and kept us playing.
The combat is incredibly fast, very fluid and perhaps some of the most fun I’ve ever had in an action game. You’re never overwhelmed, and have a lot of customization over your playstyle.
The story is very prevalent – it’s the driving force behind every new area you go to, every new NPC you meet. It’s weaved into every zone and is always a main part of every thing you do.
Graphically, this game is gorgeous. I’ve not seen an isometric game look as good as this does – the environments, the characters, the abilities.. this is nothing short of gorgeous.
The playerbase in South Korea isn’t as large as it once was, but the game is pretty popular in Russia right now. With a North American and European release coming next year in 2021, you can bet the playerbase is going to soar to even greater heights.
Overall this is one of the most fun journeys I’ve ever had. This is a very different type of MMO – one I never expected to experience.
Guild Wars 2
Combat – 8/10 Story – 10/10 Graphics – 8/10 Playerbase – 7/10
We’ve been streaming Guild Wars 2 every Sunday now for months and have been having a blast. Neither of us have ever played through Guild Wars 2 as much as we have been so this has been an incredible new experience for both Mrs Stix and I.
This isn’t your typical MMORPG, though, and a lot of things are done very differently to the norm.
Combat is a hybrid between both action and tab-target, with some abilities requiring a target to use and others possessing the ability to free-aim. Having the option of equipping two different weapon types provides you a lot of freedom to fill two different types of roles.
The story is one of the best stories I’ve come across as well. You won’t find many players that claim otherwise. There might be less of it than in games like Final Fantasy XIV or The Old Republic, but quality over quantity, right?
Graphically, I know the character models are beginning to look a little dated but Guild Wars 2 is still a very beautiful game. One of the better looking non-Asian MMOs. The environments, the abilities – without cluttering your screen are all very pleasant to look at.
The playerbase, especially in light of their new End of Dragons announcement is still pretty high. It’s been on the decline for the last couple years and is continuing to decline week after week but it’s nowhere near being anything less than populated.
Overall this is easily one of my 3 top MMORPGs right now. I wouldn’t have thought so a year ago, but after playing through as thoroughly as I have, I can say my opinion has been changed for the better.
Final Fantasy XIV
Combat – 8/10 Story – 10/10 Graphics – 9/10 – Playerbase – 9/10
I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIV ever since Heavensward first came out and have had an active subscription ever since. I take breaks between patches, but always come back to the game.
The reason for that is because this is one of the best quality MMOs out there right now – and being based in an already existing, and incredibly successful franchise allows for crossovers, collaborations and more with the main series that you don’t see anywhere else.
I know combat has been a pretty controversial topic in Final Fantasy XIV – some people believe that the combat is far too slow to really enjoy, but being a fan of tab-target myself, and playing at endgame every expansion.. I can safely say that the combat is definitely not – at the end of the game – too slow. Early game, though? Totally.
The story – especially with Shadowbringers, has solidified this as the greatest story in any MMO to date for me. Everyone will tell you how good Shadowbringers has been, but I’ve never felt as immersed in a game – with its NPCs, its world as I have in Final Fantasy XIV.
Graphically, Final Fantasy XIV is beautiful. I know it’s no Black Desert – but I feel like its softer, warmer aesthetic allows for a different type of beauty. The character models, the environments themselves.. even the boss fights are all incredible to look at.
The playerbase was, at the time of Shadowbringers’ release, at 1.2 million active subscribers – an all time high for the game. This remains one of the 2 most actively played MMOs in the genre to date.
Overall, Final Fantasy XIV is by far one of the deepest, most complete MMOs I’ve ever played. It’s a type of MMO experience you won’t find anywhere else.
World of Warcraft
Combat – 10/10 Story – 8/10 Graphics – 8/10 Playerbase – 10/10
World of Warcraft is the MMO I’ve played more than any other in my life. I’ve had an active subscription to this game since 2008 with the release of Wrath of the Lich King.
Much like Final Fantasy XIV, I continue to take breaks between patches, playing at the beginning, middle and end of every expansion as there’s always a plethora of different things to do during each point in the expansion’s life.
The combat in WoW is the best in any tab-target MMO. I don’t think any game – with the exception of ArcheAge or Aion comes close to being as fast, as polished as WoW’s is. This makes PvP even more fun – which I feel has always and will always be an important part of WoW’s core gameplay.
The story is both good and bad. I feel as though they’ve retconned quite a bit of the story and the lore in the game, but with every new expansion, the story told leading up to it and even beginning it is incredible. Those pre-expansion cinematics are some of the best things the game has produced.
Graphically, yes the game looks very dated. Until I believe you reach Pandaria or Warlords of Draenor, then things begin to change quite drastically. By the time you hit Battle for Azeroth.. the game actually looks beautiful. Character models not so much, but environments, dungeons, the new overhauled battlegrounds.. man.
The playerbase, especially now considering Shadowlands launches in less than 2 weeks is the highest in the genre right now.. by leaps and bounds. There are going to be millions of players logging in to play the game over the next few months.
Overall, World of Warcraft has always been an incredible MMO. Yes they’ve messed up a few expansions, no company is infallible – we’re just going to have to hope Shadowlands is the Legion of the last 5 years, not the new Warlords of Draenor.
And these are what are arguably the best MMORPGs currently available as of 2020. 2021 might change this, as new MMOs like New World, Blue Protocol, Tower of Fantasy, PSO2 New Genesis and more are all going to be launching but right now.. you won’t find games better than these.
In my opinion, anyway, and this is after all what this entire list is – my pure, raw, subjective opinion of the genre right now.
What do you guys think though? What is your top 10 list of the best MMORPGs right now?